Polyvine Heavy Duty Wood Varnish Review

Updated Apr 7, 2023 | Posted Feb 17, 2023 | Product Review, Paints | 0 comments

Polyvine describe this varnish as ‘An ultra-hard, high quality, fast drying varnish with a satin or dead flat finish, that dries to a crystal-clear film for interior surfaces.’

Polyvine Heavy Duty Wood Varnish is fully water-based and has extremely low VOCs, making it completely safe to use in houses with pets, small children, or people with breathing difficulties. The bottles come in so many sizes, 100ml, 500ml, 1 litre and 4 litres. So, it’s really easy to buy an appropriate amount for your project. You can buy this product online.


Using Polyvine Heavy Duty Wood Varnish to Protect a Banister


‘Fantastic’ I thought. I know the perfect place to try this out. Touched by everyone as they ascend flights of stairs, either eagerly hauling their tired bodies up to bed, or barely supporting their balance as they head downwards. The Bannister is caressed by all, and there’s no better place to put Polyvine Heavy Duty Wood Varnish to the test.

This past week we’ve been redecorating a beautiful hall stairs and landing in a large Victorian semidetached, (our speciality as professional decorators). While all the surrounding woodwork is pine, lurking beneath a badly applied tinted varnish hid a beautiful oak banister.


Since matching woodwork is so last century, our customer opted to keep their handrail a dark and sultry feature of their staircase, enhancing the overall sophistication of their vision with a Polyvine Walnut Stain, and finishing with Polyvine Heavy Duty Varnish in Satin.

As I opened the bottle and decanted the varnish into the washed out Chinese takeaway tub. We’re not precious about scuttles here, if plastics result of our consumption, I’ll be damned if they aren’t reused in every possible way. I gave a quick glance to the instructions and noticed it says ‘Do not Shake’ oops. I did already give the varnish a little shake up before opening. So, I waited for the liquid to settle a little before applying it.

The varnish was a light dusky translucent liquid, unlike the opaque milky appearance of other water-based varnishes. The consistency is also more like oil, somewhat silky, and loose.

I applied the Polyvine Heavy Duty Wood Varnish in a thin layer, diluted with 10% water to account for the absorbency of the bare wood. First to the underneath of the handrail, between the spindles, and then the side, the top and the other side, in very light gentle sweeping motion, in the direction of the wood grain of course.

The varnish went on like an absolute dream. It stayed where I put it without sagging or forming drips.

After I had applied the Polyvine Heavy Duty Wood Varnish to all the bannisters, there was a faint whiff of fish, reminiscent of the Copydec glue we used to use in craft classes at school, but it was faint and dissipated very quickly.

I left it to dry. The instructions say ‘dries in 30-60 minutes’, and then to ‘re-coat after 1 to 2 hours’. We still had a lot of sanding to do, so I was pleased that it was all dry within 40 minutes. We cracked on with the surrounding decorating and I recoated the banister in the afternoon and again the next morning. Each time I gave the surface a very gentle sand over to make sure there were no drips, and the wood was smooth. The subsequent coats were undiluted, and the viscosity was much the same.


Our customers tend to have a very discerning eye for detail. They were delighted by the silky-smooth finish, and I was delighted to allow them the fortune of rubbing their hands all over our beautiful work the very next day, as a 16-hour cure time is positively fantastic.

The varnish, much like anything wet going on to wood, warmed the tone. Making it look richer in depth of colour. But the coating was truly clear, so I didn’t have to worry about an orangey tint being added as you tend to get with some hybrid or oil based ‘clear’ varnish.

varnishing a banister
The best varnish for a banister or handrail
Polyvine Heavy Duty Wood Varnish Review

I am delighted by everything about this product. From its ease of use to the drying times, to the cure and finish. Throughout the process we were working heavily around the banister.

Dust fell on it, we hoovered it off, we covered it with sheets while we rolled the walls and ceilings, and at the end of each day we cleaned it off and it looked as good as new. The durability has already surpassed that of its competitors, and I cannot wait to see how it holds up against the test of time. Click here to see online prices.

Polyvine Heavy Duty Wood Varnish Review – by Harriet Stone

Updated Apr 7, 2023 | Posted Feb 17, 2023 | 0 comments


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